I first met an affiliate marketer at the summer of 1991. I didn’t know he was an affiliate marketer. We were on vacation on the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey in a small town. This town had beautiful architecture along with great sun, and the beaches. On the narrow street where all restaurants and bars stayed, there was this guy who stood all day. He was asking the tourists if they needed free recommendations and more information about the restaurants, bars and their menus.
It is always hard to pick the right restaurant or bar when you are on vacation, because you don’t know the area, there are great local places which tourists are not aware of. Anyway, this guy has offered to take you to the real deal places where locals hang out. He’s spoken almost perfect English, making jokes on the way, explaining every detail about the restaurants he’ll take you. He’s made a deal with several restaurants and bars in the town.
He was getting 10% of whatever you’ve spent that night. You’d pay the actual price (no more, no less) for a great dinner, and he’d get his 10% cut. This business model has fascinated me. I didn’t know it was called affiliate marketing at that time. But with the internet era affiliate marketing has become more well known.
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Affiliate Marketing Definition
Affiliate marketing is a method of promoting web businesses (merchants/advertisers) in which an affiliate (publisher) is rewarded for every visitor, subscriber, customer, and/or sale provided through his/her efforts. Source Wikipedia.
Wikipedia definition limits affiliate marketing to internet only by using web businesses. But, I count many other forms of referral businesses as affiliate marketing. They had been there before internet was invented. But with the use of internet, affiliate marketing has become more popular, and more people used this model.
Why is Affiliate Marketing a Good Business Model?
If you have a brick and mortar store or an ecommerce store selling actual products, then you will have to deal with inventory management, customer service, profit loss analysis and financial analysis, employee management, high retail store and warehouse rents, and many more issues. An affiliate marketer would need a computer, Google AdWords (and some other PPC program) memberships, and a basic ROI Calculator on Excel to be able to start his/her business.
Affiliate Marketing needs a lot of work, and honestly you need to be smarter than an average guy. It needs practical and analytical thinking to become successful at affiliate marketing. Especially if you are beginner at affiliate marketing, you need to do a lot of research to understand the basics of this business model. To be honest, I haven’t purchased any eBooks about affiliate marketing, google AdWords, or any related topic. I have read many blogs, and forum posts, also did my own tests before starting to run my affiliate campaigns.
How Did I Start Doing Affiliate Marketing?
A few months ago we have moved our main ecommerce store from Yahoo Store Platform to Volusion Shopping Cart. Volusion, as an all-in-one ecommerce solution, came with affiliate marketing setup within the software. Even the basic store template included a signup link at the footer of the pages. I just left these links there, and thought about working on the affiliate marketing part later since I had so many priorities about our store.
One morning, I was checking my email and saw somebody signed up our affiliate program. A few days later this person has brought a sale through his affiliate link. The ticket price was $210, and our default commission rate was 10%. Our first affiliate made $21.00 with one sale. We did the packing, shipping, customer emails, etc. Then I started thinking about the business model, and I thought I’d give it a shot. Because it sounded too good to be true. This guy has written a short blog review about our site with an affiliate link and already started getting affiliate sales. I have started doing research right away.
Doing Research Before Getting into Affiliate Marketing
I started with reading some super affiliate marketers’ blogs. I already knew the name Jeremy Schoemaker, I have also found some other well written blogs such as Super Affiliate Mindset, CPA Affiliates, Quit Your Day Job, Marketing with Miles, Entrepreneur’s Journey, Affiliate Marketing Blog by Vlad and bunch more. Each of these blogs has taught me something valuable. Some of the bloggers write more life style posts of an affiliate marketer which encourages you to work more and succeed by setting goals, and some of them have pure information.
I also spent quite some time on a few forums such as Digital Point and WickedFire. Even though forums didn’t teach me as much as blogs, I have learned some important points about affiliate marketing.
Here’s step by step what I did for research before starting my first campaign:
- I have read thousands of blog posts. There is so much valuable information offered FREE by bloggers.
- I have spent time on Google AdWords Tutorials.
- I did extensive research about PPC programs, and Google Landing Page Quality Score.
- I have visited many affiliate marketing companies, and eliminated most of them by reading reviews, and going through their offers. I decided to start with only 1 affiliate marketing company. There is no need trying to do many things at the same time while learning a new field.
- I have spoken on the phone and met face to face with my affiliate manager. Believe me, you can learn so many things from your affiliate managers, do not hesitate to contact them more often.
- I felt ready to start my first campaign and started working on it.
These were the initial steps I took to start my first affiliate campaign. I did my first sale within 10 minutes of my first PPC Campaign (spent $2.10, made almost $50.00). This was my booster, and I have been working more on affiliate marketing. Now, I have solid goals for my affiliate marketing business.
If you are beginner, and struggling with affiliate marketing topics, feel free to post your questions here. I’ll be happy to help if I can. Also, you can get Affiliate marketing for beginners tips by following this link. If you have setup your goals, and worked hard, you will DEFINITELY succeed.
Affiliate marketing is a long journey, and I’ll share my experiences with my readers along this journey.